Archive for April 2010

Is Nodding Trillium (Trillium cernuum) Becoming More Rare in New York?

April 30, 2010

Steve Young at the NY Natural Heritage Program would like to know if you have seen nodding trillium lately.  There is some discussion among NY botanists that it is becoming more rare in New York and may be in trouble.  If you know of any populations of this trillium with nodding white flowers let Steve know at Historically it was known from many spots from Long Island, up the Hudson Valley and west to the Niagara Region, primarily along the limestone belts. See the map from the cards at the State Museum below.

Map of Trillium cernuum sites in NY. NYS Museum cards.

Photo by Ben Russell, Univ. of Wisconsin herbarium website.


In Search of Nantucket Juneberry

April 29, 2010

From Steve Young, NY Natural Heritage Program. At the request of the Long Island Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, I spent two days on the South Fork of Long Island evaluating the condition of Nantucket Juneberry (Amelanchier nantucketensis), a globally rare shrub that grows in maritime grasslands and shrublands on Long Island. At one site, it was still doing well even though some gravel had been thrown on top of a few plants.  Here is a photo of the flowers with the tiny petals that characterize this species (click on the photos for a larger image).

The shrubs often occur in knee-high clumps with a few stems or many stems that are easy to spot, here along the Long Island Railroad.

Plants of bush Juneberry (Amelanchier stolonifera) are sometimes similar in size but their petals are longer and wider. These two species can only be told apart during flowering time so it’s critical to do surveys at the right time of year. This year plants were flowering a week earlier than usual.

Other interesting plants occur in the same habitat like this prickly pear.

This bastard toadflax was just in bud.

While I was searching for more plants I was being watched.  Three curious fox pups and one shy one were wondering what I was doing.

Out at Hither Hills State Park it is a wonderland of nature with beautiful dunes and lots of interesting plants.

Like this bearberry with its clusters of pink flowers.

Another trip to the South Fork is planned for late May to look for more rarities. I can’t wait.

Will the iPad Revolutionize Field Studies?

April 25, 2010

The iPad promises to revolutionize botanical field studies by providing a place to store field manuals as well as accessing plant keys and photos over the web. Can you think of how you would use the iPad to help you in the field? Comment below.

What could you do in the field with the iPad?

NYS DEC Launches Thier New Blog “State of Green”

April 23, 2010

You can view it at State of Green.

Bird’s-Foot Violet on Long Island

April 23, 2010

Here is a recent photo by photographer John Heidecker of bird’s-foot violet (Viola pedata) on a roadside on Long Island. A sight like this is becoming more rare on the island and the NY Natural Heritage Program will be putting this violet on their watch list and gathering more information about its status in the state. Heritage botanist Steve Young would appreciate any information about its current locations in the state. If you know of any locations please contact Steve at You can view more beautiful flower photos at John’s Website.

Bird's-foot Violet on Long Island

Closeup of the flowers.

Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide Plant Names Update

April 21, 2010

Steve Young has updated the scientific plant names in Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide.  It is available in a Google Document at: Newcombs Name Update.

It was first updated by Steve in 2007 and the 2010 changes are at the bottom of the document. If you like, you can contact the book’s publisher, Little, Brown and Company, and suggest they update the book. Their contact address is:

Search for NY Plant Lists on Google Maps

April 19, 2010

Steve Young has started a Google Map called “New York Plant Lists” that shows places where there are plant lists available. If you click on the link with the map marker you can see the list. The effort has just begun and many more lists will be put up as they become available. If you would like to become a collaborator and put up your own lists, contact Steve at

See the map by clicking HERE.